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PGA Tour Best Bets: 151st Open Championship

The Open Championship's Claret Jug

Wednesday, July 19th, 2023

By Riley Magnuson

On Thursday morning we will embark on the 151st Open Championship with this edition setting its roots at Royal Liverpool Golf Course at Hoylake. This will mark the 13th edition of the tournament at this course, the first since Rory McIlroy lifted the Claret Jug in 2014, the same year of his most recent major victory.

For us American viewers, you must be reminded that this week’s tournament will tee off early, early Thursday morning in the wee hours of the night, so it is imperative that you finalize any preflop bets on Wednesday before things get rolling in the middle of the night.

The fourth and final major of the season, and the second following the PGA-LIV merger proves to be a lightning rod for story lines, as huge names battle for their first title, or to end long drawn-out draughts such as McIlroy.

Let’s build on this beauty of a season we are in the midst of before it is too late, and as always, let’s have some damn fun!

2022-23 PGA Record: 16-47 (+3.81 units)

All-Time PGA Record: 35-79 (+20.68 units)

Outright Winner (+7500) (0.1 units)

Top 5 (+1200) (0.2 units)

Top 10 (+550) (0.3 units)

Top 20 (+230) (0.4 units)

For those that have followed along with my golf picks over the years, you know that I typically like to find one guy that has some confirmed success at each given course. In The Open Championship that can be extremely hard to find with the cycle of courses that are used. A good chunk of players were not around in 2014, the previous run at this tournament, and a vastly smaller number were around in 2006 when Hoylake was the feature of this great spectacle.

Adam Scott fits the description of the rare player that has competed in both of those tournaments in the flesh, and while I know courses change year over year and these tournaments are eight and nine years apart from each other, I still am looking for at least one guy that has shown success even just those two times at Royal Liverpool. To find that individual you would turn to Adam Scott. With five Top 10 finishes in his history at the Open Championship, two of those have come here at this track.

Scott has shown previous signs of success at many Open Championship courses with ten different Top 25 finishes over 22 runs. Included in that history is of course his most famous loss of his career in 2012, finishing 2nd after holding a four-shot lead heading into day four. While that loss was crushing for his legacy, it certainly isn’t the case that such a loss has loomed over his Open Championship mindset for the past decade. Since that tournament, he has missed only one cut and managed to bounce back with multiple Top 10 finishes.

As for his current form, Scott is having a better season than people may be giving him credit for. Over his last seven tournaments he has three Top 10 finishes. He did miss the cut in last week’s Scottish Open, but he did leave with momentum shooting 67 on Day 2, putting some positive play in his most recent round in addition to a bit of a rest advantage over a larger portion of the field.

Outright Winner (+3000) (0.1 units)

Top 5 (+650) (0.25 units)

Top 10 (+310) (0.35 units)

Top 20 (+155) (0.5 units)

The former Open Champion has not found his way onto our betting card too many times over these past couple of years if ever, but I am taking a big swing at a guy that has managed to play these tournaments with extreme success throughout his career. Across nine attempts Spieth has made the cut each time and has managed to increase his success as his career continues. From 2013-2016, Spieth as mentioned made the cut in each case, but finished among the Top 25 only once, taking T4 in 2015. Fast forward to this stretch from 2017-2022, beginning with his victory, Jordan has finished Top 20 in all five tries, and Top 10 in four of the five.

The concern right now is of course the recent form. While not bad by any stretch, Spieth has missed the cut just slightly in each of his last two outings, The US Open last month, and last week’s Scottish Open. He did finish last week with an under-par 69 on Day 2, and to give optimism, I have been chirping non-stop about guys that are well-rested come this time of year, and Spieth undoubtedly fits that description.

Outright Winner (+3500) (0.1 units) Top 5 (+650) (0.25 units) Top 10 (+290) (0.35 units) Top 20 (+135) (0.5 units)

After opening the season as the 9th ranked golfer in the world, it is fair to say that this season has been fairly disappointing to this point for Collin Morikawa. Slipping to his current standing of 19th in the world, Morikawa has managed only eight Top 25 finishes, the least in a season of his career since becoming a full-time member. With five Top 6 finishes on the season, four of those came in January and February.

It does appear however, that a late season surge could be imminent. The latter of those Top 6 finishes occurred in his most recent run at the Rocket Mortgage Classic where he missed out on victory in a playoff losing effort.

Propelling him to that run in my opinion came from a missed cut in the preceding tournament. While that may sound funny, Morikawa tore up Day 2 of that weekend with a 63 performance, setting up some much-needed confidence heading into the RMC.

Morikawa appears to be poised to build off of that momentum once again as he heads into the third attempt of his career at the Open Championship. He enters the weekend as a previous champion, taking victory in 2021.

Despite the slow season until recent weeks, Morikawa did still manage to find relative success in this season’s majors, making the cut in all three, and finishing Top 20 in two of the three. If he can elevate his play at a point of stronger form, Morikawa is a serious contender to remind everyone how strong he can be in these star-studded fields.

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